From an initial estimated revenue loss of $2.2 million, the Commonwealth Ports Authority now expects to post a loss of $3.9 million—an increase of $1.7 million—following the flight suspension of four airlines earlier this month.
According to CPA board chair Kimberlyn King-Hinds, the CPA airport and financial committees reported an overall projected loss of $3.9 million, including revenue loss from flights and others. Specifically, revenue loss from the four China flights was at an estimated $2.2 million.
“Our projected losses for the remainder of the fiscal year should all four direct China flights remain suspended until the end of the fiscal year is approximately $3.9 million, which obviously will have an impact on our ability to service our debt to the bond,” she said.
To cope with that loss, the committees recommended, among others, an across-the-board cut of eight hours in employees’ work hours. That would reduce all airport employees to 72 hours each payroll.
“It’s not only necessary to cut hours, which the committee today will be recommending to the board’s emergency meeting tomorrow, but it was also important that we take measures, further steps, to cut operational expenses. Assuming that all conditions remain the same for the remainder of this fiscal year, eight hours is sufficient for now. People have to understand that this is a 24-hour operation. Anything more at this point in time would significantly impact our operations,” she said.
King-Hinds said other austerity measures the committees recommended were a total freeze on hiring, travel outside of the CNMI, merit increases, overtime, and more.
“So absolutely total complete freeze, including the board. There would be nobody traveling outside of the Commonwealth unless they’re doing so as part of a requirement or the trip is federally funded. There will be no new hiring and no replacements unless it’s an absolute emergency but even that has to get board approval. There’s a freeze on merit increases and overtime, and the basic gas conservation, utility conservation,” she said.
King-Hinds added that the board will also look into capital improvement projects to see what is critical at the moment and what isn’t.
“We’re also going back to the drawing board to kind of look at what our plans are, what’s critical at this point, and as far as what we need to spend on and make some adjustments to those. There are some projects that are funded as part of our insurance reimbursements from Super Typhoon Yutu, so those projects will continue in the order of their priority,” she said.
These austerity measures are subject to change, depending on changes to passenger loads and other changes, King-Hinds said.
“Obviously, we have to monitor the situation on a practically daily basis to see if there’s any changes in as far as passenger loads [is concerned], as that has a direct impact on our ability to collect revenues. And so, if something changes, we have to go back to the drawing board,” she said.